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September 11, 1998

Venus Williams

.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Did you ever feel like you were in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. In the first set, I had all types of opportunities, just a matter of capitalizing on them. I think she did a better job of that today. She was more consistent, and ready to win.

Q. Did you find her a little bit overpowering in the second set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that she was stepping into her balls well. She's probably been practicing using her power to her best advantage. And she's one of the more powerful players on the tour. So it's important to use what you have.

Q. Mary Carillo was saying on the television that she thought your problem was still a lack of experience compared to these other women. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it could be. Maybe like a year from now I'll admit it. But I think in the end, I should be able to play, too. I've been practicing. I should be able to come out and play ball. If I'm not ready, I should stay home.

Q. Other than just missed opportunities, what went wrong with your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I was a little bit off balance. I just was unable to basically take the opportunities, because they were there, there for the taking. I said, "No, thank you." Pushed them away.

Q. Can you say why?


Q. Can you say why? Was it mentally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I think I made some errors, but I did try. I wasn't on the top of my game today. Definitely know I can play better, it's a definite.

Q. Was your knee bothering you at all today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. The tape just came off. I started to get it retaped, but I didn't think it would stick. But I didn't need any injury time-out, I was fine.

Q. How well did Lindsay play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played very well. I think that she had some bad areas in the match, but she was still able to come through, whereas I wasn't. I have to tell myself the truth so I can move onto better days. So that way it won't take me 5, 10, 15 or not at all to move ahead.

Q. Was the bathroom break a way of taking away some momentum?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Self-explanatory.

Q. What's your perception of the way that Lindsay has upgraded her game in the last year or two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess she's been pro for a little while now, like seven years or so. She definitely feels that she has the potential to be the best, just like anyone on the tour who wants to compete. So she's stepping up her game before it's too late. You don't want to be 25 or 26 before you can start reaching your best. You just want it now, do your best throughout your whole career. That's probably what she's feeling.

Q. Do you think anyone returns your serve better than Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think today she was returning very well. But also I don't think my placement was so good either, because if you're going to hit a ball that fast, you should at least place it, you shouldn't just say, "Here it is." But definitely she was returning better than what I was today.

Q. You said, "If I'm not ready, I should stay home." Did you feel you weren't ready?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I should have stayed in the hotel (laughter). I think I was ready today, but I don't think I should blame it on lack of experience. If you give someone a racquet, they should be able to use it. I didn't use mine that well today.

Q. Did you have a particular game plan coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that my game plan was to be consistent and to try to take control of the points.

Q. How do you think tomorrow's match will shape up between the two of them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Can't tell you. I won't be there, so (laughter). Unless I run on the court (laughter).

Q. With your seventh dress?


Q. Will you watch it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Probably be on a plane or something.

Q. What's the plans now for the future, remainder of this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm entered in three more tournaments overseas. Also, I think I will be attending the Chase Championships. I see no way where I could be ousted. And probably I'll play the Grand Slam Cup, probably.

Q. How do you look at your Grand Slam record this year? Are you pleased with it? Like to improve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure I would like to have improved. I think there was definitely some winnable matches that I played that I didn't win. But like this year in the Slams, I got to the quarterfinals or better. Got to the semifinals here. I really have to work harder on being better.

Q. Last year you might have been a bit surprised to make it to the finals. This year you were expected to make the finals. Do you feel this is a big disappointment for you now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I can't be disappointed. I can't spend my time being disappointed. I can spend my time planning for the next session.

Q. Conversely, along those lines, is there any chance at having to go through a couple of trials by fire, experiencing a little frustration and disappointment, might actually in the long run be beneficial for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, sure. What is this, my seventh Grand Slam? I haven't been through too many trials. I still have some to go through. But I'm trying to get myself together, more or less.

Q. When you play Lindsay, do you feel like you can win cross-court forehand exchanges or do you think she's just a step ahead of you in that department?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she might step into the ball more than what I do. I think I choose to use more topspin, and she uses the topspin also, but she flattens it out a little bit more. If I'm going to go cross-court, then I should definitely feel that I can stay in there with the person. If I don't, then maybe I should go down the line, hit a backhand.

Q. Do you feel like you can stay in there with her?


Q. Even though it's a lesser finish than last year, do you feel you are a better player, looking back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I think I'm a better -- this year or last year?

Q. This year, do you think you're a better player, even though you didn't go as far in the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I'm a better player. I didn't go backwards any at all.

Q. What do you think of the crowds here at The Open, the New York crowds, how they receive you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the crowds are great, definitely.

Q. Do you have any sense of being a favorite here, that the crowds are in favor of you in most of your matches?


Q. So what did you think of this different dress for each match experience? Do you think you'll do it again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm deeply saddened that I didn't have the opportunity to wear my seventh dress.

Q. Will you send that one to the Hall of Fame?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm actually going to put that one in a coffin and bury it. It was red, white and blue. Of course, matching hair and nails. Maybe I could have got a new piece of jewelry for it, too. Who knows?

Q. Would you say she's a better player than you this year, Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say she's had better results than what I have, have had. I haven't won a tournament since March.

Q. Am I supposed to translate that as a yes, she is a better player, or just she's had better results?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She has had better results this year.

Q. What part of your game do you still have to work on? Do you have to work on everything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I'm pretty solid right now. I think I have to just become a better player, make better decisions. Like today, I played okay, but I could have played better. I should really be able to bring my game up, especially at certain points in the match. And I'm getting much better at that as the time goes on. Just have to keep improving. That's all that you can do.

Q. Is there any time frame, when you're looking at No. 1? You were saying earlier in the year you hoped very soon you might be No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think no matter what I do this year, I don't think I could be No. 1, if I won every tournament that I entered. It's not plausible this year, I don't think. Just depends, you know, who loses points. I don't know. But it could happen this year. I think I just need to concentrate on each match.

Q. At what point in your life would you like to go off and live on your own, be a completely independent person in that sense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. Sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. You live with your parents now.


Q. Have you thought about a date or a time in your life, generally speaking, where you'd want to go off and live by yourself, begin your own life by yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You mean, like by myself or with a dog or with Serena?

Q. Never mind. Get your own place, basically.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm getting older. I guess it's an option. I'm legally able to make decisions on my own at this age. I don't know. I'll live with Serena. We'll live together.

End of FastScripts….

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